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Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club Promo/Paperback Giveaway


Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club

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Synopsis

When Clare Ballard sports a new bruise on her right cheek the day after a contentious town meeting, the ladies of the Thursday Morning Breakfast Club suspect her husband Roger of abusing her. That same day Hester Franklin, another breakfast club lady, is called to rescue her grandson Patrick after he is arrested for transporting drugs. Proclaiming his innocence, Patrick threatens that those who set him up will pay. Roger Ballard is high on his list.

But it’s when Lillie Mae Harris, the club’s leader, discovers the body of the local drug dealer on the nearby hiking trail, that the community is upended. Roger Ballard, the primary suspect, goes missing, and when his body turns up in his own back yard, Clare Ballard confesses to his murder. No one
believes she did it, but Clare insists she’s guilty and mysteriously refuses to talk to her lawyer, the police, or her family and friends.

The Thursday Morning Breakfast Club ladies believe she’s protecting someone, and they vow to find out
who it is. Charlie Warren, the town’s homegrown policeman, using unconventional means, collaborates with the breakfast club ladies to draw out the real criminal. But danger lurks.

Alice Portman, the matriarch of the breakfast club, is struck down in her own yard and is sent to the hospital. Then others in the small community start to disappear—one after the other. As the ladies get closer to the truth, they get closer to the danger. With no time to cry over spilled coffee, they form a plan to capture the true culprits before someone else is murdered.

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About the Author

After some thirty years writing everything from political encyclopedias to software manuals, Liz Stauffer retired from corporate life to write fiction, travel, and play on the beach. Since that time,
she has traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world. With her two dogs, Stauffer lives in Hollywood, Florida, where she owns and manages a vacation rental business.

Thursday Morning Cover (Click to buy on Amazon for $3.99)

Excerpt

 “Clare’s dead!”

When she spoke the words, her voice was so low it was barely above a whisper. The sturdy woman with short, curly red hair dropped the handset back into its cradle and began to pace, the phone still ringing on the other end of the line.

Lillie Mae Harris stopped at the front window, taking no notice of the white buds that were just opening on the two Bradford pear trees in her front yard, or the spring flowers peeping through the freshly hoed soil in the close- by flower bed. Her thoughts were of Clare.

She had the best view in Mount Penn from this window. On a winter’s morning she could see for some thirty miles out over the valley with the big blue sky as the backdrop. The night view was even more amazing, offering a shower of dancing lights in the distance competing only with the brightest stars.

It was now early spring and the vista had already begun to shrink even though the trees were just beginning to bud. Once the trees were filled out with big green leaves the view would pull in even more until fall when the colors exploded and the view once again took one’s breath away.  But today the scenery did nothing to still Lillie Mae’s pounding heart or quell her shaking hands. She couldn’t stop worrying about Clare. Rushing back to the phone, she scooped it up, and punched in a familiar number.

“Hello.” Alice Portman answered in her sweet Southern drawl, after just one ring. Her Jack Russell terrier, Alfred, barked in the background.

“Clare’s not answering her phone this morning,” Lillie Mae said. “I’m so worried about her, Alice. I’m not sure what to do.”

“Settle down, Lillie Mae,” Alice said, shushing Alfred. “Why are you more concerned today?”

“You were at the water meeting last night,” Lillie Mae said. “You saw how Roger was acting. Yelling and screaming like an idiot. When he’s gotten that riled up in the past, Clare’s been his punching bag.”

“Well, yes,” Alice agreed, deliberately slowing the pace of the conversation. “But, Roger was just being Roger last night, dear. Just showing off. I didn’t see anything unusual in his behavior. Certainly nothing to make you so worried this morning.”

“He was acting worse than usual,” Lillie Mae insisted, still pacing the living room floor.  “And I’m sure he drank himself crazy when the meeting was finally over. That’s the real reason I’m worried, Alice. You know how he is when he drinks. What he does to Clare.”

“Roger playacts, you know, when it suits him, Lillie Mae,” Alice said, her voice still soft and cool. “He knows he’s going to make a lot of money hooking people up to the public water in a few short months, but he wants to come across as the good guy to his neighbors, not the money grubbing fool that he is. He’ll use every wile that he has to seduce the community. If the project fails, which it won’t this time, he looks like he’s the man who stopped it. If it passes, he wins big time.”

“You’re probably right, Alice,” Lillie Mae said, calming a bit. “I know Roger is shrewd. If he wasn’t always out there trying to make a deal, he wouldn’t be Roger, I guess.”

“So, stop overreacting, Lillie Mae. What’s brought all this on anyway?”           

 “I’ve been calling Clare’s house all morning and nobody answers the phone,” Lillie Mae said. “It’s stupid, I know, but I picture Clare lying on her kitchen floor, needing my help. Dead, even.”

A sigh escaped Alice’s lips. “You’re way over dramatizing this morning, Lillie Mae,” she said. “Roger’s not even home. He drove by me in that stupid yellow Hummer of his while Alfred and I were out on our early morning walk.”

“That’s good to hear,” Lillie Mae said. “Stop imagining the worst, Lillie Mae. Clare’s probably out, too. It’s such a warm spring day. Doesn’t she usually go grocery shopping on Wednesday mornings?”

“Maybe,” Lillie Mae conceded. “Or she could be in her garden, I guess.”

“She’ll call you back when she gets to it,” Alice said, a hint of impatience in her voice.

“I doubt if she does.” Lillie Mae’s voice broke. “She rarely calls me anymore. We’ve been such good friends for so many years and I miss her, Alice. I wish I knew what I did wrong.”

“Clare’s changing, Lillie Mae. She’s getting stronger. Give the girl some space.”

“I’ve noticed a change, too,” Lillie Mae said, “since Billy went off to university. She does have more confidence, I’ll give you that.”

“Have you written your article on the water meeting for the Antioch Gazette, yet?” Alice asked. “I thought it was due today.”

“Not yet,” Lillie Mae confessed. “I’ve been too worried about Clare.”

“Maybe being busy will take your mind off things that are not really any of your business,” Alice said.

“I guess you’re right,” Lillie Mae said. “Clare’s a big girl and can take care of herself.”

 “I know that well,” Lillie Mae said, then suddenly turned serious again when her thoughts returned to Clare. “I’m walking down to Clare’s to check things out before I start on the article. I need to make certain she’s all right, or I won’t be able to concentrate on my work. Do you want to come along?”

“No, you go on, if it’ll make you feel better,” Alice said. “You can fill me in on the details at dinner this evening.”

*    *    *

Roger Ballard’s yellow Hummer was not in the driveway when Lillie Mae arrived at Clare’s house a few minutes later, but Clare’s Ford Escort was. That was good news on both fronts.

Lillie Mae walked around to the back of the large white two-story house trimmed with neat green shutters, to see if Clare might be working in the garden as she often was at this time of the day. She paused when she heard Clare’s voice through the open back door. She sounded angry. Or was it scared? Lillie Mae couldn’t tell for sure.

As she approached the back of the house, Lillie Mae could see through the screen door that Clare was on the phone, her back facing the door. Ready to call out a greeting, Lillie Mae stopped when she heard what Clare said next.

“No, don’t come over here. I’m fine.”

A brief pause.

“There is nothing for you to worry about. It was an accident. Really. Roger didn’t touch me. I told you the truth about what happened.”

More silence.

“We have to be careful,” Clare said, her voice quivering. “If anyone finds out what we’ve done, it would be a disaster for both of us. Roger would kill us if he knew or even suspected.”

A stab of guilt pricked Lillie Mae’s conscience. She stepped back around the side of the house and then called out a belated greeting in her loudest voice.

“Clare, are you home? Lillie Mae here.”

“Just a minute Lillie Mae,” Clare called back. “I’ll be right there.”

Lillie Mae could hear rustling in the kitchen and what could have been Clare whispering something and then hanging up the phone. Clare’s big black tomcat was at the door mewing to get out, making it impossible to hear the rest of the muffled conversation.

Clare stood at the door a few seconds later, flushed and anxious. “Thanks for stopping by, Lillie Mae,” she said, brushing a strand of dark-brown hair behind her ear as she pushed the door open with her other hand. The slight smile on her lips was not in her bright blue eyes. “What a beautiful bouquet you have with you.”

“It’s for you.” Lillie Mae stretched the vase out toward her friend.

Clare took the flowers from Lillie Mae, then ushered her into the large country kitchen. “Come in and tell me the news,” Clare said, without much enthusiasm.  “Would you like a cup of coffee?”

“That would be nice,” Lillie Mae said.

Clare busily arranged an impromptu coffee while Lillie Mae took a seat at the table. Watching her friend as she prepared the table, Lillie Mae was struck again at how attractive Clare was despite her years with Roger. A large-boned woman, Clare could easily be a plus-size model with curves in all the right places. Although she must be in her mid-forties by now, Lillie Mae thought she could pass for a younger woman. Only her son Billy, now a freshman at the university, gave her age away.

Clare set the table with raisin-nut muffins, butter and jam, and a plate of strawberries and fresh pineapple, then poured the coffee in the mugs at each of their places. She had set the flowers in the center of the table. Sitting down opposite Lillie Mae, she passed her the plate of fruit. “These are the first strawberries out of my garden. I picked them this morning.”

Lillie Mae took one of the deep red strawberries from the bowl Clare had passed her, and popped it into her mouth. “That’s good,” she said when she had swallowed. “So sweet for an early spring berry.”

“Sweet berries always come after a cold winter.” Clare picked up a berry and tasted it.

It was then that Lillie Mae saw the bruise on her left cheek.

“That bastard,” Lillie Mae said. “What did Roger do to you?”

“Roger didn’t do anything to me, Lillie Mae,” Clare said, her hand flying to her face. “Right!” Lillie Mae exclaimed. “Roger never touches you, does he?  In all the years I’ve known you, you haven’t had one bruise or broken bone, thanks to Roger Ballard, have you, Clare?”

Clare looked Lillie Mae squarely in the eyes, and said very slowly, enunciating each word. “Roger did not do this to me, Lillie Mae. It was a stupid accident I did to myself.”

“Right,” Lillie Mae said again, this time muttering under her breath.

Clare blushed. “I’ll tell you what happened if you give me the chance. You’re so judgmental, Lillie Mae. You jump to the worst conclusions with very little information, and you always have to be right. I’m not a needy little girl anymore. I can take care of myself.”

Lillie Mae stared at her friend, shocked by the outburst. “I’m sorry.”

“Do you know what I hate the most, Lillie Mae?” Clare said, ignoring her friend’s apology. “The pity. I can see it in your eyes and I can’t stand it. Why do you think I’ve been avoiding you lately?”

Tears sprang to Lillie Mae’s eyes.

“Clare I didn’t realize—again, I’m sorry,” she said, truly repentant. “Tell me what happened last night, and I promise I’ll believe you.”

Clare looked at her friend for what seemed like a full minute.

“It was so stupid,” she finally said, as if the earlier conversation hadn’t taken place. “I went to bed around ten o’clock and went straight to sleep. It had been a busy day and I was tired. When I woke up around midnight and Roger wasn’t home yet, I got worried. As you know, when Roger stays out late, he usually comes home drunk.”

Clare glanced at Lillie Mae, who was nodding, but didn’t wait for her to say anything. “Most of the time he falls asleep on the sofa in his living room, but, on the rare occasion, he wants to talk to me. All I have to do to avoid him is hide in Billy’s room. Roger  never thinks to look for me there. So, last night when I was moving to Billy’s room, I didn’t turn on the lights in case Roger came home just then, and I tripped on an old pair of Roger’s boots that he had left by the landing. I fell and hit my cheek on the wall. That’s what happened, Lillie Mae. As I told you before, Roger didn’t touch me.”

 “So it really was an accident.” Lillie Mae said, thinking that indirectly Roger was as responsible for the accident as he would have been had he made the blow himself.  “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“No, Lillie Mae, there’s nothing I need from you or anybody. I’ve told you it’s not a big deal. I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine. Please, let’s not talk about it anymore. Okay?”

“Okay,” Lillie Mae said, wondering who else Clare had been trying to convince it wasn’t a big deal that morning.

The phone rang, the shrill noise blasting through the tension in the air. Clare turned pale. She looked over her shoulder at the phone, than back at Lillie Mae. “I’m not going to answer that,” she said with a nervous laugh. “I’ve been getting so many crank phone calls lately.”

Lillie Mae moved her eyes from Clare to the phone, but remained quiet.

The ringing stopped as quickly as it had begun. Clare inhaled deeply and clasped her hands, but Lillie Mae could see they were shaking.

 “Let’s go outside, Lillie Mae,” Clare said, jumping to her feet. “It’s way too pretty a morning to be sitting in the house. Besides I want to show you my garden. The onions, carrots, and the spring lettuce I planted last week are already peeking through the soil.” Clare picked up a bowl off the counter. “Let’s pick some strawberries for you to take home.”

Lillie Mae glanced back over her shoulder at the phone as she followed Clare out of the house.

Giveaway

Liz has been kind enough to offer a paperback for giveaway! Head on over to the Rafflecopter for your chance to win!
  

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(Novel Publicity) Excerpt from Along the Watchtower (David Litwack) GIVEAWAY!


Please enjoy this gripping excerpt from Along the Watchtower by David Litwack. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

Becky

On the ground floor, the center of the hospital opened into a small courtyard, an insecure space with too many places for insurgents to hide. I took a quick breath and tensed.

“Wait up, Ralph.”

“It’s okay, Freddie. You’re safe here.”

“Give me a minute. It’s my first time out.”

I surveyed the perimeter. A few benches. A flower garden dominated by hydrangeas, but not like the softball-sized blossoms my mom used to grow. These were small and paler than the Cape Cod variety, which were a blue that could compete with the sky.

At once, I could see my mom, hands buried in the hydrangeas, grooming her flowers—one of the few memories I could bear to recall. Me and my brothers in the driveway shooting hoops. Mom telling us to keep the ball out of her garden. She was happy then, surrounded by her family, her garden, and the ocean.

I looked past the hydrangeas to find purple asters and some lilies too. But no roses. For some reason, I’d been hoping for roses.

Despite the nice day, the courtyard was deserted, except for a woman about my age who sat on a wooden bench, finishing up a brown-bag lunch. Her eyes were closed and her head tipped back to take in the sun, making her appear to be dreaming. Sitting alone on the bench, her face seemed framed by flowers.

When she heard us coming, she sat up, straightened her scrubs, and smiled.

“Hey, Ralph. What do you have there? Another victim for me?”

“Becky,” Ralph said. “What’s up? This is Freddie, Lt. Williams, our newest patient. We’re trying to bring him back from the dead. Freddie, meet Becky Marshall, one of our physical therapists.”

I nodded a greeting to her, not much in the mood for small talk. She tilted her head to one side as if evaluating me. Then she gave me the kind of look that said we’d met before, if not in this world than in another, and that she intended to make a difference in my life.

“Is he ready for me?”

“Soon. If he’s assigned to you.”

My attention was drawn to a soda can on the bench next to her. I’d seen too many IEDs in soda cans.

She caught me fixating on it and grinned.

“Just my diet Pepsi, Freddie. See?”

She chugged what was left and tossed the can into a nearby trash basket. Then she crumpled the bag into a ball and to show off, stepped off exactly five paces and shot the bag into the basket in a perfect arc.

“Nice shot,” I said.

“I make that shot every time.”

“Yeah, right.”

She came close enough that our knees were almost touching and hovered over me, sizing me up.

“You’ll be mine,” she said finally. “I can tell. I get all the hard cases.”

As she walked away, light on her feet like a dancer, I fumbled for the wheel of the chair, trying to spin it around so I could watch her go. But Ralph had set the brake.

The Gardener

The white butterfly fluttered before her face. When she saw it, she reached out a hand and at once it landed on the curve of her wrist.

“Now there’s a fine omen for you,” she said. “Light knows we need one these days.” She whispered some words and the butterfly flew off across the courtyard and out over the castle wall.

A fine omen? Perhaps. But I’d learned to be wary. I stepped forward, scuffling my boots to make noise. She ignored my presence. Not until I was a pace away did she turn.

It was hard to say if she was beautiful or even pretty. Soil from the garden had splattered her cheeks and marked her forehead with a splotch that looked like a raven. A muddied apron hid her shape. But I took note of a glint in her gray-green eyes, as if the flowers had conspired to lend their color. And her mouth was a crescent moon upturned on its side.

The corners of the crescent twitched when she saw me but only for an instant. Then she went back to her work as if I were invisible. Her hands cradled each bloom as she sliced off the heads with a small knife.

“Are you spirit or demon?” I demanded.

She made no answer.

I drew my sword, relieved it slipped so easily from its scabbard, and stretched it in her direction. She watched the point from the corner of her eye but kept her head down and continued to work. Finally, I nudged her with the tip.

She let out a yelp. Only then did I realize I’d thrust too hard, and the blade had slit her garment. I backed off at once, ready to apologize, but then recalled my encounter with the assassin. I poked again, more gently this time.

“Why do you keep doing that?” she said.

“To see if you’re real.”

She stood and faced me, feet set wide and planted squarely on the ground.

“Why shouldn’t I be real?”

She was tall for a girl, her head rising above my chin, and had a bearing unlike a servant. When I continued to challenge her, she reached out and eased the point of my sword to one side.

“Would you put that silly thing away?”

I began to back off, then remembered the circumstance and held firm. “Why didn’t you say anything when I first approached you?”

“Because we servants aren’t supposed to talk to you royals.” She lowered her gaze and turned back to the flowers. “I’m sorry . . . Milord.”

“What’s your name?”

“Rebecca.”

“Rebecca. My name is Frederick.”

She paled and then bent in a deep curtsy, her brashness collapsing into two whispered words. “The dauphin.” . . .

I wandered in a circle, hands folded behind my back, and inspected the flowers, unsure of what else to say. Then a thought occurred to me.

“Do you have roses in this garden?”

“No roses, Milord. I have asters and hydrangeas. Some fall crocus. And climbing the wall to the watchtower, sweet autumn clematis. A bit of monkshood underneath and tulips in the spring. But no roses.”

I must have looked disappointed. She came closer and reached out, but not enough to touch me.

“It must be lonely, Milord, a terrible burden. Every morning as I walk from my village to the gardens, I see the darkening clouds and wonder where my strength will come from. Then I remember. The dauphin will protect us. Save Him Oh Goddess, I pray. If only I could do something to help.”

I mumbled a thank you and turned to go, but stopped when I saw her examining her damaged apron.

“Are you here every day?”

“No, Milord, I have other gardens as well.”

“Come tomorrow, and I’ll bring you a new apron to replace the one I tore.”

She curtsied more deeply this time.

“I’d be so grateful, Milord, but I have nothing to give in return.”

“No need.”

“Ah, wait.” She took her small knife and clipped off a bulging blossom at the stem and handed it to me. “Now place it in water the first chance you get.”

I accepted the gift and admired her through its petals.

“Thank you,” I said. “Tomorrow at noon.”

As I walked away, I glanced over my shoulder to get one last look at the gardener. She was back at her work, resuming her song and snipping away, so light of hand and foot. As she blew away a curl that had drifted across her face, the summer dress rustled against her skin. I inhaled the scent of the flower and thought I caught the sun peeking through the clouds over Golgoreth.

And for the first time since my father died, goddesses seemed possible.

Watchtower Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, both Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack are on sale this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Pick up Along the Watchtower at its discounted price of $2.99 on Amazon
  2. Get There Comes a Prophet at its discounted price of 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  4. Visit the featured social media events
  5. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

Along the Watchtower tells of a tragic warrior lost in two worlds; a woman who may be his only way back from Hell. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

There Comes a Prophet A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a time of violence and social collapse. Nathaniel has grown up in their world of limits, longing for something more. For what are we without dreams? Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

David Litwack, the once and future writer, explores the blurry line between reality and the Visit David on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Excerpt & Giveaway from Mother’s Curse (Novel Publicity Blog Tour)


Please enjoy this excerpt from the exciting and beautifully written YA fantasy, Mother’s Curse, by Thaddeus Nowak. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

Feeling slightly better for having a bit of light to keep with her, she continued down the street, occasionally looking through a window to see the remains of a room. After the third storefront she passed, she wondered at the reason all of the furniture and even drapes, carpets, and accessories had been left behind. Even in the desperate flight from Antar, people were still taking their belongings. They removed their drapes, even ones far less decorative then what Stephenie suspected were here. Why would everyone desert a city and yet leave almost everything behind as if they were simply going across town to visit a friend? She was hesitant to consider an answer. This city had been deserted and abandoned for a long time. Antar castle and city above had been there for as long as memory could recall and the original castle even before then. Had any of those above known about a city deep in the rocks under their feet, there would have been stories.

Stephenie used her stolen crystal to look into a shop that reminded her of a bakery, with a large oven in the back wall and the remains of shelves still partially attached to a side wall. The sparkle of something shiny and shaped like a pendant caught her eye. Looking closer at a mass on the floor, she paused and then stepped quickly away from the window as a shiver of fear rolled down her spine.

She closed her eyes, but the unmistakable image of a human skull laying on the floor would not leave her sight. She shivered again and looked up and down the street. Perhaps they didn’t leave.

Mustering her courage, Stephenie slowly approached the window again. She forced herself to look at the mass on the floor. Wiping away some of the dirt on the window, she could make out the arms and runners of a rocking chair mixed with what was likely clothing and the decayed bones of the person who’s head had rolled several feet away after the chair had collapsed. Bits of hair and desiccated skin clung to the skull, which was fortunately staring away from the window. The person died sitting in a chair and no one came to remove or bury the body?

Stephenie sniffed the air and thought about the strange odor she had been noticing since she had entered the city. It was a musty sweet smell. “Is this a plague city?” She felt her throat tightening with each breath and again quickly retreated from the window. She turned toward the way she had entered the city, ready to run back to the large doors and flee, but the dryness of her throat and the sound of water stopped her. If this is a plague city, then I am as good as dead and I might as well die after I’ve had something to drink.

Slowly, she turned around and continued down the street, no longer bothering to look into the store fronts. The rot and death they held did not interest her anymore.

She passed several side streets, but continued following the slowly turning main street because the sound of water was getting louder in the direction it was heading. After a short time, the street opened into another large plaza at least a hundred feet in diameter. Several streets exited the round plaza, but at the very center, lit with several points of glowing light was a fountain. Its water pushed up from a center mound and cascaded down several stone statues into a series of white marble bowls. The fountain was a dozen feet high and thirty feet across.

Drawn by thirst, Stephenie quickly reached the edge of the fountain and could feel a cool mist splashing over her. Knowing she would die slowly and painfully from whatever disease had killed the residents of this city, she did not care if the water was poison as long as it tasted fresh. Taking a small sip, she tested the flavor and found it cleaner than what she was used to in the castle. Scooping up more water with her hands, she drank deeply before noticing how dirty her hands had become. After quickly rubbing away the dirt, she moved a couple feet away and continued to drink until her stomach felt full.

Relieved of her thirst, she sat down next to the fountain and buried her face in her wet hands. She sobbed with frustration and relief in one confused wail. While she would not die of thirst, how was she going to get out and warn her father and Joshua about her mother’s betrayal? She cradled her cut arm in her lap and leaned back with her eyes closed. I’ve got light and some water, but what good would warning everyone do if I bring a plague to them? She shook her head. Damn it, why do the gods hate me so? Fundamentally, she knew her tie with Elrin, even if a result of her mother’s doing, was her real damnation. She could not bring herself to worship the demon god and she dared not seek out the other gods for fear the priests would sense her connection to Elrin.

Opening her eyes, she stared at her foot prints along the cobbled street. A lone trail to remind her that she had to do whatever it was she was going to do on her own. There was no one to help her.

She sat silently staring into the distance for some time. Then she blinked her eyes, uncertain that she was not imagining it, but after a moment, there was definitely a strange luminescence moving down the street. As it grew closer, she scrambled to her feet, recognizing the dim outlines of a human form. The apparition was moving in her direction. She quickly moved away from the fountain, but as it closed on the fountain, it appeared not to notice Stephenie at all. Instead, it held its, or her, hands as if carrying something. When it reached the fountain, it leaned over as if scooping up water.

Mother's Curse BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Mother’s Curse and Daughter’s Justice eBook editions are just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get your copy for just 99 cents
  2. BONUS: The sequel is also discounted to 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  4. Visit the featured social media event

Mother’s Curse is a coming of age story about the youngest Princess of Cothel and her efforts to save her father and brother from her mother’s schemes, while at the same time, coming to terms with what it means to be a witch. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Daughter’s Justice continues Stephenie’s journey of discovery, where she must overcome national opposition to her being a witch as well as lead her friends and protectors on a mission to stabilize her countries finances. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Thaddeus Nowak is a writer of fantasy novels who enjoys hiking, photography, and the outdoors. Visit Ted on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Purgatory Reign by LM Preston (Promotion)


Purgatory Reign
Purgatory_Reign_cover0012
 
Tagline: Something evil this way comes, unfortunately for it, Peter Saints is waiting.
 
Seventeen-year-old Peter Saints’ life stinks. But things are about to get much worse.  First, his parents are murdered in front of him. Then another victim  dies in his arms.
 
Visions plague Peter with warnings that something wants him for a sinister cause. It desires the one thing that Peter refuses to give –  his blood.
On the run with Angel, a scruffy kid, Peter starts to unravel the mystery. It’s the one secret the heavens sought to hide from the world.  Unfortunately, when Peter finds the answer he hopes that will save the  girl he loves, he opens the door to a great evil that happens to be  salivating to meet him.
Purgatory Reign by LM Preston Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance, Action Adventure Book Trailer Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atvKA9E4bPI&feature=youtu.be
EXCERPT
 
“I can’t help the dead.” Pastor Finn pushed Peter’s hands away from him. “But I have to help you. Come with me.”
 
Peter watched him, confused. His teeth clenched at Pastor Finn’s betrayal. “I thought you were different. I have to go back. Bury her, like she deserves.” Peter stumbled backwards.
 
Pastor Finn’s hand burst forward and grabbed Peter’s shirt at his shoulder. Tightening his fist, he dragged Peter around the side of the building and through the door to the basement.  Peter struggled in vain as Pastor Finn’s firm grip didn’t relent, but tugged Peter through the basement past several tall stacks of boxes.
 
“You have to get out of here. Leave before they find out you are still alive,” Pastor Finn demanded.
 
Peter shook his head in disbelief of the man’s off-beat ranting. “Who? Who would care if I am dead or alive? I don’t have a family, remember? They died, they all died! Why the hell I didn’t die with them I’ll never know.” He hit downward, breaking Pastor Finn’s hold on him. “Seems to me all I’m good for is causing death.”
 
Dark blue eyes assessed him, and then Pastor Finn twisted to rummage through a box in front of him. “Your mother saved you. We’d been in contact with your father and knew we had to get you to safety. It was better they thought you were dead. Easier to hide you that way.”
 
“What are you talking about?” Peter frowned. His hand started to itch and burn even hotter than before. “Ugh! God, this hurts.”
 
Pastor Finn stopped his rummaging through the box and turned around handing Peter a bag. “What hurts? You got hurt?”
 
Peter lifted his hand and Pastor Finn held it. “This is it. The sign. It is time.”
 
Confused, Peter’s eyebrow lifted. “What time? Tell me what is going on? What is it?”
 
By LM Preston, Purgatory Reign, www.lmpreston.com
 
 
 
 
 
 LM Preston

L.M. Preston is an avid reader who loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl. With a thirst for knowledge, she became a professor and techie in the Information Technology field for over sixteen years. She started writing science fiction under the encouragement of her husband (who was a sci-fi buff) and her four children. Her first published novel, Explorer X – Alpha, was the beginning of her obsessive desire to write and create stories about young people who overcome unbelievable odds.

Preston is the Vice-President of Mid Atlantic Book Publishers Association, a moderator on YAlitchat, a non-profit organization for Young Adult Authors, and former Co-Chair for Maryland Writer’s Association Conference, 2012. She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing.

Writing stories for and about kids that overcome the impossible…

Cephrael’s Hand Blog Tour Continues…Great Prizes!


Please enjoy this excerpt from Cephrael’s Hand, a spellbinding epic fantasy by Melissa McPhail. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Ean hugged the shadows as he tried to find his way back to le Comte’s estates. He feared they’d hurt his head worse than he thought, for the twisting alleys of the city disoriented him now. He was sure he’d passed the last street corner already once, and he had the uneasy feeling that he was walking in circles.

Trying to break the cycle, he turned into a long and shadowed alley, spotting a streetlamp at the other end. Abruptly a form reared out of the shadows. Ean reached for his sword—

“…Ean?”

The prince halted with his hand around the hilt. “Fynn?”

“Balls of Belloth!” Fynnlar crossed the distance in a rush and grabbed him by both shoulders, giving him a shake. “What are you doing out here, you wool-brained fool?”

“I might ask the same of you, cousin.” Pushing a hand to his throbbing head, Ean closed his eyes. He’d seen so much death since the last moon…so many lives lost, and for what? He couldn’t fathom the events that spun violently around him, only knowing they somehow had him caught in the whirlwind.

“Ean, are you unwell?”

“Hit my head pretty hard,” the prince murmured, lifting tired eyes to refocus on his cousin. “I’ll be all right.”

“Come on. We’d best keep moving.”

The prince shook off the numbness edging his thoughts and followed his cousin. Fog was rising from the river as they headed back toward le Comte’s villa, fat fingers sliding through the streets to leach the color from the night. They reached a corner, and Fynn paused and looked warily around.

“Fynn, what are we waiting fo—”

But the words stuck on Ean’s tongue, for he heard it then: a strange whispering, the whisk of silk across the rough edge of glass. The sound had prickly tentacles that pierced into the soft flesh of Ean’s inner ear and twisted there, making him cringe.

Something flew out of the shadows and Ean swung his head after it, straining to make out what he’d seen. “What in Tiern’aval was that?”

Grimly, Fynn held his sword before him. “A Wildling—a Whisper Lord.”

The whispering continued, tormenting, growing soundlessly louder until it shrieked inside Ean’s skull, shattering any hope of focus.

The Wildling shot out of the shadows again, and Ean forced his eyes to follow, to find him in the shadows where he hid.

There.

He saw him lurking against the wall, smiling around big white teeth. His leathery skin was pitch black , and his eyes were golden like the desert sands. The man locked gazes with him, and—

Suddenly they were nose to nose. Ean felt the heat of his breath in the same moment that the fiery sting of steel pierced his flesh.

Shade and darkness!

“Ean, he cut you!”

“I’m all right.” But Ean grimaced as he gingerly probed the wound. “Shadow take the abominable creature.” Fynn gave him a long look. “Be ready,” and he rushed to meet the Wildling.

The fight turned instantly vicious. Whisper Lord fought with long, stiletto daggers that speared like claws out of his gloves. His hands crisscrossed with amazing speed, never failing to find their mark on Fynn’s person, while his body twisted and spun. Fynn’s thrusts in turn only seemed to meet with the slashed silk of his garments. So fast did the Whisper Lord dart and cavort that Ean at first felt helpless to join in, for he could barely see the Wildling move until after it had happened, as if the sight had to bounce off the back of his eyes…as if he could only see the man’s reflection.

Then Ean found his focus and rushed to help Fynn.

The Whisper Lord marked him before he even got his blade around, a long swipe at the joining of neck and shoulder that burned bitterly. Ean realized that trying to use his sword alone would get him killed, so he pulled his dagger and dove in again. The Whisper Lord dodged like a jumping spider and managed in the same maneuver to slash a deep cut across Ean’s thigh, his daggers flashing first with the silver of steel and then dark with blood. Ean snarled a curse and staggered into the wall, teeth clenched against the pain, for the wound was angry and deep.

Abruptly Fynn threw himself backwards, himself narrowly avoiding a deadly thrust to his gut. Those spine-like blades sliced a chunk of flesh out of his side instead. The royal cousin clenched his teeth and held one hand to his midriff, using the other to pull himself out of reach.

Ean dove at the creature with renewed determination, his battered head forgotten in his haste to keep the man away from Fynn. He wore a malicious grin as they battled, and his golden gaze was flecked and sparkling against his face of leathery pitch. As Ean’s strength failed, the Wildling grinned even broader and began to chant in a voice like sand, “Tur or’de rorum d’rundalin dalal! Tur or’de rorum d’rundalin dalal!” Over and over while he pressed Ean on the retreat; gleefully, like a madman.

And then he made a sudden thrust, and Ean jumped to avoid the slashing daggers that barely missed his throat. He came down unevenly on his bad leg, and his knee buckled. Stumbling, he hissed a curse and the man bore down on him. A swipe of his hand, and three spiny daggers cut deeply across Ean’s back with their sharp fire. The Wildling’s other hand darted for his throat again, but the prince veered and twisted so the blades caught his chin and cheek instead. Ean rolled and thrust upward, but the Wildling merely laughed and arched out of his way; the weapon met only the whisper of silk.

Ean lay panting. His dagger seemed lost along with his will, and desperation could no longer drive him on.

The Whisper Lord advanced slowly wearing a grim smile. With the shrieking noise still accosting his skull and the loss of blood and nausea in his stomach, Ean felt only numb acceptance. Shaking, he lowered his head—

A tall form pushed past him, knocking Ean aside as it rushed to engage the Whisper Lord, driving the Wildling back and away, taking the battle out of Ean’s hands.

Ean fell onto his back, gasping as the last of his strength bled out of him, and lay watching his rescuer take offensive control.

The woman’s brown half-cloak floated behind her as she advanced with long, fast strides, forcing the Whisper Lord on the retreat beneath two short swords wielded in a flashing figure-eight.

The Wildling smiled no longer. Every thrust and swipe of his daggers was blocked by the woman’s whirling black blades. She matched him stride for stride, spinning when he spun, darting as he did, dodging as he lunged. They performed a ferocious, twisting dance of death where both knew the steps intimately and took them with ease.

As Ean watched, the Wildling slashed his daggered gloves in a motion that should’ve gutted the woman, but she flipped out of his reach, thrusting long as she landed. Her sword met with the flesh of his side, drawing a hiss as he jumped back. He glared malevolently at her and pressed one palm to his side.

“Merdanti,” he snarled, his golden eyes hot as they assessed her black blades.

Arching brows with a predatory smile, she twirled her blades and lunged for him again, and once more the dance began, the meeting of their deadly weapons a rhythmic beating that seemed in time with Ean’s still-racing heart.

And then—

Ean thought he must’ve dreamed it, his tortured mind inventing an impression for what clearly defied explanation. The woman and the Wildling seemed to shift and slow, their cloaks floating as if suspended on the wind. Then the woman launched out of her turn so quickly that Ean lost sight of her, only to spot her again as she stood squarely before her opponent, blades crossed. With naught but a grimace of effort, she chopped her short swords crosswise through the Wildling’s neck, removing his head completely. His body toppled to the stones at her feet, paying respects to her skill.

Silence hung in the street, a palpable blanket sewn of incredulity fringed with pain.

The woman lowered her dripping blades and leveled tawny eyes on the prince…

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About Cephrael’s Hand: Two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of a great battle, neither knowing the other is alive… A traitor works in exile while preparing for the disaster only he knows is coming… A race of beings from beyond the fringe of the universe begin unmaking the world from within… And all across the land, magic is dying.Cephrael’s Hand is the first novel in the award-winning series A Pattern of Shadow and Light.Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats. Visit Melissa on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.